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What a Computer Assisted Translation is and what tools are used

computer assisted translation

Assisted translation is often confused with machine translation, but it does a very different thing. But what’s causing this confusion? Why should assisted translation be considered a vital resource?

Assisted translation: a definition

Assisted translation is a form of translation that use sophisticated software programmes to speed up and facilitate the work of professional translators.

Translation agencies use these software programmes to assist the work of translators.

What is the difference between machine translation and assisted translation?

Machine translation is a type of translation performed by translation software without a human translator's input. Human translators can then make the necessary changes to a translation that has been automatically generated. These corrections are intended to make the translated text more accurate, readable, and suitable for the target context.

Assisted translation is performed by professional translators who edit, modify or rewrite translation segments generated by automatic software.

This type of translation is performed by human translators, who use automatic translation software to speed up their work and ensure texts are consistent with previous translations and contain accurate terminology, especially in the case of technical texts.

Assisted translation tools

Assisted translation tools are software programmes that create translation databases, or translation memories.

They contain segments from the original text and their corresponding translation. These segments are repeated where necessary throughout long texts.

Using these software programs, translators can avoid manually translating several identical sentences. Instead, they can simply confirm the use of segments they have already translated or make minor changes to translated segments, if necessary.

Glossaries are also essential assisted translation tools. They comprise a set of terms related to a given topic and their corresponding translation. They are particularly handy when performing technical translations, where there is only one correct translation for each term used.

What are CAT tools?

The software programmes used to assist translators are called CAT tools, or computer assisted translation tools.

They are essential for quickly producing accurate translations of long texts and guarantee terminological consistency in legal and specialist texts. Therefore, they allow translators to meet very tight delivery deadlines and can also accurately calculate the number of target words.

This word-counting feature makes it possible to calculate final translation costs simply, objectively, and accurately.

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